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How Do I.... (a Practical Guide to Administration tasks)

Naming files and folders in Google Drive

Correctly name Google files and folders?

Taking care with how you name and describe your files in Google will alleviate a lot of difficulties when trying to find them at a later date.

Naming files in Microsoft

Naming files in Windows folders

In Windows folder systems, folders are unique and you do not need to worry if you repeat file or folder names within different folders. The location of the file and its name make up its unique file-path name:

  • Committees/Board of Examiners/Meetings/October/Agenda.docx
  • Committees/Board of Studies/Meetings/October/Agenda.docx

Naming and describing files in Google

A need for unique file names in Google DriveGoogle Drive image

The naming convention shown in the example opposite does not work well in Google Drive. This is because if a large number of files are named as "Agenda", for example, it would be difficult determine, without opening up the document(s), which meeting or month they belong to.

Best practice for naming Google files and foldersGoogle Drive image

To ensure your files are findable at a later date, the file name must be descriptive and include as much information about its unique identify as possible. So using the example of the minutes of the Board of Examiners October meeting, the file could be named Committees Board of Examiners - Oct19 - Minutes.

There may already be standard naming conventions across your department and/or acronyms that can be used so that the file names can be shortened, for example BofE instead of Board of Examiners. If not guidance exists, then it could be worth agreeing on some kind of convention before you set up your documents in Google Drive.

Use the Description feature to add useful keywords to ‘tag’ files

Another good tip to make files easier to find is to update the description in the details box. In Drive, select the file you wish to update, then select the i for information icon at the top right hand side of your document. Once the panel is open you can select the details tab. In the details tab you can add a description with keywords which may not appear in the name or in the file but enable you to identify the file contents.